At today's Malta Ornis Committee meeting, the Committee voted in favour of the proposal put forward by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation - Malta (FKNK) in order to recommend to the Minister to apply derogation from the EU Directive known as the "Birds", to permit turtle dove and quail hunting this spring, on the same parameters of the 2022 spring hunting season. Basically this means quail hunting from 10 to 30 April 2023, and turtle dove hunting from 17 to 30 April 2023, both days included for both seasons, and the times of hunting are from two hours before sunrise to midday of each day of the seasons. The national bag quotas also remain the same as last year’s, that is, 2400 for quail and 1500 for turtle doves.
The FKNK's proposal was presented in a document that the FKNK prepared detailing the positive results obtained with regards the sustainability of turtle dove hunting, which emerged from two surveys and a scientific study that the FKNK carried out with the voluntary help of its members in 2021 and 2022, as well as from the continuous achievements of the FKNK’s Turtle Dove Project, "Turtle Doves Captive-breeding for Release into the Wild".
Therefore, already now, the FKNK is encouraging its members to participate willingly in the study that the FKNK intends to organize again during this spring hunting season 2023, once the Minister enacts the recommendation of the Ornis Committee. Therefore, more details about the study will be given in due course.
Another proposal of the FKNK was to introduce a program of further research on the turtle dove, through the traditional (live-capturing) trapping of turtle doves, but under special and strict conditions; in the same turtle dove hunting season; where the catch is taken from the 1500 quota, and which catch is used to strengthen the genetic diversity in the FKNK Turtle Dove Project; however, where every licensed trapper would have been given the opportunity to participate at his discretion after a ban of 16 years.
Although the Ornis Committee was not against this proposal, due to logistical and time constraints, the Committee did not see it opportune to make the recommendation of this proposal to the Minister at this point in time.